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Oneida man arrested for forging 2012 election petitions

— An investigation ongoing since September 2012 was recently completed by the Madison County Sheriff's Office regarding allegations of forged petitions involving Independence Party candidates in the November 2012 elections. A special prosecutor was subsequently named to the case, attorney Sheila K. Ben of Manlius.

On the morning of Friday, Aug. 2, Brian E. Karst, 41, of Oneida, was arrested by Madison County Sheriff’s investigators at the Madison County Sheriff’s Office. He was charged with four counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument in the second degree, which are class D Felonies; one count of offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree, which is a class E Felony; three counts of making a punishable false written statement, which are class A misdemeanors; and three counts of misconduct in relation to petitions, which are unclassified misdemeanors.

Last year, petitions were filed by the Madison County Independence Party to place the names of Assemblyman Bill Magee, Madison County District Attorney William Gabor and Helen Acker, who was running for Oneida City Common Council Ward 4, on the Independence Party line in the Nov. 6, 2012 election. The signatures on these petitions were collected during the month of July 2012 in Madison County.

In September 2012, several local residents came forward to file police reports that their signatures had been forged on the petition. As a result, the Madison County Sheriff’s Office opened an investigation into the matter. Several people were interviewed and more residents were located who identified their signatures as being forged.

Over the course of the investigation, Karst was identified as a suspect. It is alleged that Karst witnessed and possessed forged petitions for candidates seeking designation by the Madison County Independence Party. It is also alleged that Karst knowing the petitions contained false statements or information filed them with the New York State Board of Elections in Wampsville.

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